Monday, August 3, 2015

A Student's Guide to TB Testing

“Why do KUMC Students have to have annual TB screening?”  That’s a common question at Student Health.  Most employers require TB screening every two years at most.  Doesn’t it make sense that Student Health would do the same?

Student Health requirements are determined by a couple of different sources.  The Kansas Legislature requires all students to complete TB testing before entering the classroom.  In addition, KUMC has contractual agreements with clinical settings in which we guarantee that our students are screened for TB on an annual basis. 
So what are your TB testing options?  Students who are classified as non-clinical may complete their annual requirement with a risk screening questionnaire after their enrollment TB testing is complete.  All clinical students are required to have an annual TB test.  If you’re a clinical student, there are a few ways to complete the TB test requirement:

·         TB skin test.  This test is available at Student Health, free of charge.  A small amount of purified protein derivative (ppd) is placed under the skin in the forearm.  In 48 – 72 hours, the student returns to Student Health so that the forearm can be assessed.  If there is no reaction at the test site, the test is negative.

·         Students who have not had a skin test within the past year will have to complete a two-step skin test.  That means that a TB skin test is placed and read.  In the next week or two, another TB skin test is placed and read.   The two-step test is required initially and can be followed by a one-step test annually thereafter.

·         Student Health will accept TB skin tests from outside clinics, however any skin test that is placed at Student Health must be read at Student Health. 

·         Another way to fulfill the TB test requirement is through a blood test called “Quantiferon Gold” or QFT.  The QFT is offered at Student Health, but it is not free of charge.  The fee for the QFT is $65 for students who pay out-of-pocket.  If a student carries the United Healthcare Student Resources insurance policy, the QFT is covered and there is no fee.  A student with private insurance such as Blue Cross/Blue Shield may ask that the test be submitted to insurance, however there is no guarantee that it will be covered.  We strongly recommend that you call your insurance company prior to the test to verify coverage.  If the test is not covered, your bill will be significantly more than $65.   An advantage to completing the QFT over the skin test is that it can be done in one visit.  Also, if a QFT is done, the two-step TB test is not required.

What happens if a TB test is positive?  If a TB test is positive, a chest x-ray is required, along with a visit with a provider to discuss the possibility of latent TB and antibiotic treatment.
As always, I am happy to discuss your individual TB situation with you, or answer questions.  Give me a call at 913-588-2018.

My name is Jennifer Blanck, RN, and I am always happy to hear from students and help in any way I can. Feel free to give me a call if you have any questions regarding your requirements. My direct line is 913-588-2018.